One of the questions state and local government has refused to answer thus far is what will the impacts be on our local communities as a result of non-profits getting on the massive money train of the Federal “Unaccompanied Alien Children” program. It’s hard to assess them all, but again, state, federal and local governments do provide a fair amount of information on their websites that we can assemble on our own, even if those same governmental entities are claiming to have no idea.
First, let’s review what we know about the three programs that exist right now in Virginia. Here in Prince William County Youth For Tomorrow is maintaining a growing number of non-secure spaces for UACs that has gone from 24 in May of 2013 to (we are told) 80 right now. They hold these illegal aliens for about 30 days until they’re released, so on an annual basis they’re processing about 960 juvenile illegal aliens of which 96% on average will be turned over to “sponsors”. At the Juvenile Detention Center of Northern Virginia in Alexandria, 10 spaces are for “secure” detention, 10 are for “staff secure” detention and 3 are non-secure, making on average 265 more juvenile illegal aliens placed with “sponsors.” At the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Detention Center there’s space for 30 which are all designated as “secure” and “staff secure” detention, and on average they’ll add another 346 juvenile illegal aliens to Virginia’s population.
Other UAC programs in the country may also place illegal aliens with “sponsors” who reside in Virginia as well, and it’s possible that some of the juvenile illegal aliens in Virginia facilities will be placed out of state, but the Department of Health and Human Services that operates this program is trying to keep UAC housing close to where potential sponsors are given that the primary responsibility for assessing these sponsors is that of the facility housing the illegal aliens. Most likely the placements into and out of the state offset each other.
These “sponsors” may be persons who claim some family relationship with the illegal aliens, but although the law says that the immigration status of these sponsors is supposed to be verified numerous sources including the VERA Institute of Justice clearly indicate that no such checks are actually being performed, nor is there any substantial effort made to validate the identity of sponsors or their relationship, if one is claimed, to the juvenile illegal alien. The juveniles are released into their custody with a Notice To Appear for an immigration hearing of which few will never show up.
“Sponsors” are then required to enroll these juveniles in local schools and are eligible to enroll in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Family Access to Medical Insurance Security Plan (FAMIS) and Medicaid. The fiscal impact on the Commonwealth and localities of just the educational expenses to educate these additional 1,533 children at a rough cost-per-ESOL-pupil of about $17,000 is about $26 million, excluding capital costs. In 2010 the federal government spent $35.8 billion on TANF to serve a monthly average of 4.375 million recipients for an average cost per recipient of $81,828. That yields $125,443,200 in costs. Virginia spent $6,906,432,609 providing Medicaid services to 1,027,075 recipients in 2012 at a per-recipient cost of $6,724 per recipient according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That adds another $10,308,459 in costs. We’re up to $161 million in costs, some of which are offset from federal funds, and some are not. Regardless of the source of funds, they’re still coming out of your pocket.
We also have to consider that some of these juvenile illegal aliens are likely to pose some issues for state and local law enforcement and the justice system. Those juvenile illegal aliens held in “staff secure” detention, where it is essentially a jail but instead of bars staff control ingress and egress for the facility, are “children with a history of nonviolent or petty offenses or who present an escape risk” according to the VERA Institute of Justice. The “Secure” detention children, held in detention facilities with actual bars, are “children with a history of violent offenses or who pose a threat to themselves or others.” Most likely they’re going to have plenty of interactions with state and local law enforcement which begs the question of why the federal government is willfully importing dangerous foreign nationals into our communities in the first place. Estimating costs for that likelihood is nearly impossible, though.
The surge at the border is conservatively estimated to reach 60,000 this year and could well be double that. In 2010 5% of Unaccompanied Alien Children were being placed with sponsors residing in Virginia, and if that percentage stays where it was that means we’re going to have twice as many juvenile illegal aliens coming in each year than we currently have capacity within the UAC program to handle in the state. That $161 million, which excludes a lot of costs that are difficult to quantify at this point would double and we would bear those costs until the illegal alien is deported or reaches the age of 18. Deportation is currently an unlikely scenario given the opportunity for these juveniles to qualify for “Special Immigrant Juvenile Status” that can fairly quickly allow the individual to qualify for legal permanent residence.
As word gets out among juvenile street children across Latin America that they can get welfare and eventually American citizenship just by showing up in Texas if they just assert they have been abandoned by their parents, the number of illegal aliens surging at the border is going to explode well beyond the numbers we’re seeing now.
$300 million and rising quickly. Ouch. I hope Youth For Tomorrow, which pocketed of $16 million in federal grants to help make this happen someday realizes that their “compassionate” quest for obscene quantities of federal dollars is going to help bury Virginia families under an ever-increasing mound of crushing taxes.
“I am glad that we have more information and that we have a better understanding of the impact this has on county services, which seems to be pretty minimal” Marty Nohe, quoted by InsideNova on July 24th, 2014
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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